Forbidden Meat, Forbidden Fruit
“She called the young man inside and cooked some meat for him.”
“As she cooked she took out some of her brains and mixed them with the meat in the pot.”
“This is the way that people came to eat the flesh of animals.”
Meat and its consumption or lack thereof, is a telling element in Younger Brother. We learn near the end of the story that until permission was given by the woman with the many animals, the consumption of meat was forbidden. However, before this occurrence there are two references made about meat. The meat incident brings to mind the story of the Forbidden Fruit in the Bible. The only animals given to YB for consumption are the skunks, the porcupines, and the badger. These are the smallest, oldest, and weakest of all animals. This runs parallel to the Garden of Eden where all fruits were consumable except for the fruits on the Tree of Knowledge. Yet YB goes out and kills the most sacred of animals, the Buffalo. Not only does he kill the Buffalo, he kills an obscene amount that “…when the meat was piled up it looked like a hill”. Just as Adam and Eve were cast forth from the Garden, so did YB bring about a fall from grace, as it were, in that “…animals now eat the flesh of men”. So we must conclude that YB kills the first two women not only because of the first’s physical strength, or the other’s ability to poison his thoughts, but also because they used meat when it was not yet permitted. Again, not unlike Eve’s tempting of Adam with the Forbidden Fruit. These two women tried to use YB’s hunger against him by tempting him with meat, however YB escapes retribution by not consuming the meat, by not falling into temptation.
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